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Leaving Church

A Memoir of Faith

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


“This beautiful book is rich with wit and humanness and honesty and loving detail….I cannot overstate how liberating and transforming I have found Leaving Church to be.” —Frederick Buechner, author of Beyond Words

“This is an astonishing book. . . . Taylor is a better writer than LaMott and a better theologian than Norris. In a word, she is the best there is.” —Living Church

Barbara Brown Taylor, once hailed as one of America’s most effective and beloved preachers, eloquently tells the moving and delightful story of her search to find an authentic way of being Christian—even when it meant giving up her pulpit.

The eBook includes a special excerpt from Barbara Brown Taylor's Learning to Walk in the Dark.

From Publishers Weekly

Mar 13, 2006 – A widely acclaimed preacher, Taylor draws on her homiletical skills in this finely crafted memoir with a simple plot: an Episcopal priest exhausts her inner resources, first in an urban church and then in a small country parish; she changes jobs, struggles and finds renewal. Such a synopsis, however, does not do justice to Taylor's literary style in this rich evocation of her lifelong love affair with God. "When I think of my first cathedral," she writes, "I am back in a field behind my parents' house in Kansas, with every stalk of prairie grass lit up from within." Drawn to the church, she compulsively overworks: "I had such a strong instinct for rescue that my breasts fairly leaked when I came across those in need of rescuing." Though she has found new employment, she realizes she is still a priest: "I miss being a lightning rod, conducting all that heat and light not only from heaven to earth but also from person to person." Current and former clergy will relate to her comical and sometimes touching descriptions of parish life, while memoir buffs will savor her journey as she identifies her core beliefs, sets boundaries and learns to relish her "blessed swath" of the world.

Customer Reviews

Disturbing Departure

I have avoided reading this book since its publication five years ago. Having read it now, no doubt at the right time for me to do so, Barbara Brown Taylor's "Leaving Church" is a disturbing departure, not only for her or for me, but signals the same for many who are complacently tending or attending a church that has, itself, departed.

The disturbance in this departure has potential for an opportunity to grow profoundly in our relationship with God and in our attention to our humanity (to an important extent the same thing), as well as in our relationship with other people. It brings needed disorientation and confusion about where to go next and what to do, but I have hope that God is generous beyond the telling, harboring and offering even the wealth needed to respond to this perplexity.

I'm grateful for this profound and needed book, masterfully and movingly written. I marvel that the author had the ability to gain enough distance on her own intense experience to both share and insightfully reflect on it as she has done here. If you're a church person, especially an ordained one, only read it when you are ready for change on a deep level.

Leaving Church
View in iTunes
  • $1.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Oct 13, 2009
  • Publisher: HarperOne
  • Print Length: 272 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings